Sample Formal Outline: Informative Speech
Please note that the outline format in the sample that follows may be a bit out of whack.
content, nevertheless, will model the kind of speech I'm looking for on this
Oct. 16, 1999
Ensuring Educational Opportunities for
with Special Needs:
An Overview of Efforts and Programs
Special Education programs in the public school systems
Purpose: To inform my audience
about Special Education programs for
elementary school children in the public school systems
Our government and public school systems have taken a
number of measures to help ensure educational opportunities
for children with special needs.
My son is 7 years old and in the 2nd grade at a local public elementary
school. Like a lot of kids he
enjoys school and is always eager to tell me what he “learned in school”
that day. I am grateful that my son
is able to attend public school. He is able to attend due to federal regulations that
guarantee him an education, regardless of his disability.
My son is but one of an increasing number of children with special needs.
A recent article in Exceptional Children reports that “the
number of children with disabilities who have been identified as qualifying for
special education...has increased dramatically.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, one out of every eight
elementary school children have special educational needs.
Our society has recognized that handicapped, disabled, or
physically-challenged kids (whatever is politically correct) have the same right
to an education as any other child.
This realization has prompted our government and public school systems to
take a number of measures to help ensure educational opportunities for children
with special needs.
My son’s progression through the public school system has taught me
some things about a handicapped child’s needs in school, what the federal
government’s response to those needs are, as well as what the public school
systems are actually doing to fulfill those needs.
I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you.
You may wonder how this information is relevant to you, after all, you
may never find yourself facing this situation with your own child.
But, you likely will interact with classmates and colleagues with
special needs, and if you do have children someday, you’ll want to help
them understand their peers with special needs.
In addition, you’ll want to understand and be able to explain why
special programs exist.
and transition from intro to body:
Before examining programs and the legislation upon which they are based,
let’s first review what comprise some of the needs of a child with special
The needs of a handicapped child include those needs that are common to
all children, as well as additional needs that the school and family must
acknowledge and respond to.
According to Joanne Jones, a social worker with United Cerebral Palsy of
Greater Houston, all disabled children should receive additional training or
assistance with basic functional skills such as communication, self-help and
independent living skills, and academics.
Jones notes that communication skills should be addressed through speech and audio
Self-help and independent living skills may be gained through
occupational and physical therapy as
Academic skills should be taught through flexible and adaptive classes
designed to fit the child’s
[Visual aid: Outline of
son’s IEP, on transparency]
In conjunction with the special physical and academic needs, I can tell
you from personal knowledge that handicapped children need additional support
from their family and society.
Rejection from their peer groups can have an emotionally disturbing
a. The child may withdraw
b. The child may experience sudden dramatic mood swings.
Self esteem can suffer because the child is unable to perform the same
tasks as the other students.
The family and friends can be a big help in these areas by being
sensitive to and
Now that we’ve reviewed some of the needs of a child with special
needs, let’s look at how our federal government has considered those needs.
The subject of public education for handicapped children has been debated
by Congress for the past 30 years and has resulted in various legislative acts.
Edwin W. Martin, former director of the U.S. Bureau of Education for the
Handicapped, recalls that the Education of the Handicapped Act, passed in 1966,
was the first major step toward integration of handicapped children into the
public school system.
The act provided grants to help local school districts start programs for
It created two agencies which helped to forward special education
The Bureau of Education for the Handicapped.
b. The National Advisory
Committee on Handicapped Children.
The next improvement for the education of the handicapped did not
come until 1978 when the Education for All Handicapped Children Act became
The act established the “zero-reject” policy, which author Mary Jane
The act summarily ended discrimination of handicapped children from the
In addition, according to Mr. Martin, the act also helped to change
society’s view of disabled children by increasing awareness and understanding.
The most recent and probably most controversial legislation is the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), passed in 1992.
IDEA mandates the provision of special education and related services to
children who have “limited strength, vitality, and alertness, due to
chronic or acute
health problems...that adversely affect educational performance.”
The “related services” aspect of the policy, such as constant care
treatment, has proven financially difficult to implement.
a. The U.S. Bureau of the Census indicates that the average cost
student is approx. $5,300/yr.
The New York Times estimates the average bill for a special
child is $13,000+/yr.
With the federal government pushing for special education and health care
services as part of a free and appropriate public education, let’s now explore
how the public school systems are implementing these regulations.
To meet the needs of children with special needs, educators have begun to
emphasize a comprehensive approach that includes the classroom, the home, and
Most school systems have special education programs designed to address
needs of handicapped elementary school children.
[visual aid: Transparency of
pamphlet from Tomball Independent School District]
The usual procedure for a student to enter the special education program
eligibility test, followed by a recommendation and placement by a special
committee that oversees admission, review, and dismissal.
The process may be initiated by a parent, a teacher, or an appropriate
Each disability has specific requirements for placement as defined by
transition: Educators realize that
schools cannot operate alone but require the cooperation and assistance of
parents and the community. As the
journal Exceptional Children states, “The transformation and
improvement of schools for our increasingly diverse students requires the
appropriate anticipation of the needs of students, family members, and
educators...and effective plans to address them.”
To address community concerns about education for handicapped children
some school systems have developed Parent Advisory Committees.
These committees usually consist of handicapped adults, parents from each
school in the district, as well as the special education teachers for the system, the
special education program coordinator, and
Work in an advisory capacity helps to plan for and ensure appropriate
To increase community awareness of the needs of children with special
needs (as well as their abilities) some school systems sponsor events such as
from body to conclusion:
With increased awareness and ongoing efforts, the integration and
education of handicapped children has become a central issue.
In the past 30 years our legislators have recognized that handicapped
children have the same rights to an education as an ordinary child and
also have special educational needs beyond those of an ordinary child.
Our government officials not only have recognized these rights but have
tried to ensure these rights to all children.
The public school systems are enacting federal regulations by providing
special education and related services to handicapped children.
At the same time, educators have emphasized that parental and community
support are essential for success and they have promoted involvement and
With all of the work that is being performed by individuals, schools, and
the government, more kids with special needs may be able to greet their parents
in the evening with “Hey! Guess
what I learned at school today!”
Martin, Edwin W. “The
Golden Age of Special Education.” The
Exceptional Parent, 26, 62.
Putnam, Joanne W; Spiegel, Amy N; Bruininks, Robert H.
“Future Directions in Education and Inclusion of Students with
Disabilities: A Delphi
Investigation.” Exceptional Children, 61, 553.
Rapport, Mary Jane K. “Legal
Guidelines for the Delivery of Special Health Care Services in Schools.” Exceptional Children, 62, 537.
“Improving Preschool Special Education.”
New York Times, Late
Edition. Aug. 7, 1996, A16.
U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States:
1995. 115th edition.
Washington DC, 1995.
Jones, Joanna. Case social worker, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Houston. Telephone interview. 1996, Sept. 27.